Manabi Straight! – 03
At Aikou Academy, the student council president receives a hand-drawn notice from Manabi concerning a dodgeball tournament. Finding it interesting, she decides to go. Over at Seiou Academy, it has been two weeks since the renewal of the student council room, and the girls are getting a steady stream of visitors from various clubs. It eventually comes time for Mei to take the lead and explain to Manabi and Mikan the game of dodgeball, but she’s interrupted by the arrival of Mucchii. Unfortunately, Mucchii informs them that they’ll be short a member, so the girls turn to Mei as the replacement. When the time for the tournament comes, Mei spends all her time on the field lecturing the other players until she’s eventually pegged in the face with a ball. Even after she’s out, Mei yells at Mikan, who ends up panicking and getting in the way of her own team. Mei manages to get hit in the face again, but this time the ball was accidentally thrown by Manabi. When Manabi is washing her hair afterwards, she’s surprised to find Aikou’s president Kakuzawa Takako handing her the towel to dry herself. Sitting down together, Manabi first apologizes for when Takako showed up before and found no one in the room. Takako then compliments Manabi for her idea of requiring student council members on each dodgeball team so that they could have a get-together afterwards. She makes a big deal out of it, but Manabi explains that all this was simply so that everyone would have fun with close relations. When Manabi gets called away, she tells Takako to refer to her as Manabi and starts using the name “Taka-chan.”
Later that evening, with the dodgeball tournament over, the various student council members gather and hear about Manabi’s agenda of how to make school life more exciting. The other girls don’t seem to understand until Takako raises her hand and turns the topic to school festivals as a common agenda. The girls start discussing this, and Mikan notes that in the end, Manabi wasn’t able to say any of the stuff she wanted to because the discussion was by Takako’s lead. Manabi seems depressed when the girls are eating afterwards, but she suddenly yells loudly and asks the cook for an order of shouyu ramen. Alone in her room later, Manabi thinks about Takako and reaches a decision. The next morning, she drags the entire group to go see Takako about Aikou’s school festival. Takako apologizes to Manabi for yesterday, but Manabi actually feels thankful. In any case, the girls get a bit discouraged because how great the Aikou festival is. As they get up to leave, Mikan – who has grown fond of Takako – promises to work hard on their festival and invites Takako to come see it. Takako stops them as if she has something to say, but then claims that it’s nothing and tells them goodbye. The girls wonder about this later as they’re heading back, but Manabi stays silent on the subject. At home, she shocks her brother by not wanting any dinner and goes straight for her room. With the memory of how Takako looked when they left, Manabi soon gets back out of bed and goes to her desk. As she creates a school festival idea notebook and starts decorating it, she gets happier and happier until she decides to call everyone to school. Though the girls are reluctant to come at this late hour, they all end up there anyway. Manabi explains to them that she now understands that they can create a school festival that doesn’t have to be like Aikou’s, so they don’t have to aim for something like that. They can instead think of something that only they can do, and they have a white canvas on which anything is possible. They can fill their white notebook with ideas so that they can become a one-of-a-kind festival. Seeing Manabi’s enthusiasm, Mucchii, Mei, Momo, and Mikan now feel that they can do it.
Well they continue to surprise me with this show. Manabi spent a lot of this episode not her usual self until she made her realization and speech at the end. I say I was surprised because of how abstract they went in portraying the white canvas and the redrawing of the school, including having Manabi grow wings and fly. It’s a unique style that’s really growing on me, and a big part of it is still the very strong soundtrack. I even found myself tapping along with the beat that was playing when the girls first got to Aikou (the same song in each week’s preview).
The funniest part of the episode for me was watching Mei get hit in the face by a ball as she’s going on and on about dodgeball technique. I was also amused at how some of the noises Manabi/Horie Yui made almost sounded like she was going uguu~. On that note though, I do have to say that I’ve gotten used to these characters, so I no longer have my first episode complaint about the voice actresses in these roles.